Even the most diehard makeup stans might be surprised to learn that over the course of a woman's lifetime, she'll spend roughly $15,000 on beauty gear.
This expensive phenomenon is commonly called the "makeup tax," which disproportionately affects women since we're the main consumers of these products.
While it's easy to cast makeup as a frivolous, or vain, expense, the way society perceives women who wear it doesn't give them much choice. Science has shown that women who wear makeup are seen as prettier, smarter, more competent at their jobs — and even more fun — than those who don't.
Makeup blogger workwithmonolids went a step further and created a brilliant experiment to put these findings to the test.
The blogger, AKA Francesca, posted the two versions of the same photo of herself — one edited to appear made up and one fresh-faced — on PhotoFeeler, a site where people can give their unfiltered opinions on your appearance.
She's a braver woman than I.
Francesca used the same photos for three main settings: Business, social, and dating.
Surprise: PhotoFeeler users voted in favor of the edited photo in every category.
"As you can guess, the pic with makeup with immediately ranked higher for competence (10% higher), likability (23% higher) and influence (10% higher)," Francesca responded to the "business" category results.
"Not only that, the pic without makeup got comments mentioning that I looked 'somewhat unconfident' and 'a bit uncomfortable,' my 'smile seems a bit forced,' and 'something seems a bit odd with [my] eyes...[they look] a little scary,'" she wrote.
People also thought her made-up self seemed like a better friend.
"Generally, people don't really think I'm fun, but hey, anyone using what looks like a professional pic for their social accounts are probably the type who'll only draft HR-approved status updates, so fair enough," Francesca wrote.
"I definitely find it funny going makeup-free makes people think I'm less authentic, so for anyone saying that girls who wear makeup look 'fake'...the stats don't lie."
Results from the "dating" category were particularly brow-raising.
"What I wanted from this test is the intelligence rating, and the sad news is that I'm perceived more intelligent (14% higher) with makeup," eraser_dust wrote. "Ouch. Also, I'm rated at 6% more trustworthy with makeup."
This was all based solely on appearance.
"I thought the conclusion is pretty obvious and confirms what I've knows for a long time," Francesca told Revelist, "but to my surprise, there are still people saying that it's just because she's smiling, and appears more confident simply because she felt more confident in makeup."
In a perfect world, we'd be able to wear as much (or little) makeup as we want, with no consequences. This experiment proves that this is hardly the case IRL.
"Yes, the make up tax exists and I think it sucks," Francesca concluded. "Yes, we can say it applies to men too, since more attractive people, regardless of gender, are viewed more favorably."
"At the same time, we're conditioned to expect zero eye bags, porcelain smooth skin and a bit of a flush on women only, and that's usually only achievable with make up."
"As for the takeaway from this experiment, well, I learnt my undereye concealers are the best investment ever," Francesca told Revelist. "I definitely didn't find anything surprising, and I'm pretty sure every woman reading about this would just go, 'Well, no shit, Sherlock.'"
"The only results that made me feel gleeful is that people ranked the makeup pic as more trustworthy, authentic and confident. More evidence that the people claiming women shouldn't wear makeup have no idea what they're talking about."
You can read Francesca's full blog post here.